There's a new breed of cheerleaders emerging at the collegiate level. Ditching the sidelines, wiping off the heavy make up and glitter and kicking their poms and skirts to the curb, this new hybrid of athletes from the of Oregon is changing the definition of cheerleading. Working hard to be accepted by NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), the Oregon Ducks have disassociated themselves from a competitive cheerleading team and reinvented themselves into an "acrobatics and tumbling team."

According to, a website dedicated to breaking news in Oregon, the Ducks won first place at the NCATA (National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association) competition and aren't stopping there. Oregon's athletic administrator Renee Baumgartner has helped create the NCATA, winning the endorsement of USA Gymnastics, and the Ducks' coach, Felecia Mulkey, has been spear-heading competition formats, changing the scoring system and giving the sport a completely different look from its skirt-wearing, glamorous cheerleader counterparts.

These trailblazers have even caught the eye of Nike's uniform creators; Mulkey has been working tightly with their creatives to design uniforms that comply with NCATA standards. Those competing under these new standards are welcome to keep the big bows in their hair, but skirts and midriffs have been banished from the tumbling mats. Compression jerseys and shorts, similar to the style of volleyball uniforms, are the new acrobatics and tumbling uniform staple. Being judged by looks and chanting has disappeared from the scorecards and has been replaced by synchronized stunting and tumbling, individual assessments and team routines.

The future of cheerleading is here. It's been redressed, redefined and renamed into Acrobatics and Tumbling Teams. NCATA's vision is to level the playing fields for fair, organized and safe competing and is giving acrobatics and tumbling teams an opportunity of a lifetime to grow into something bigger than they can imagine.


What are your thoughts on this ground breaking new sport?